Side Dish Showdown: May Round-Up

It’s time for another Side Dish Showdown round-up! And with another big turn-out so I’ll get right down to business.

First up is Angie from Angie’s Recipes who made Zucchini Fritters. The Zucchini sticks are seasoned with flour, paprika, salt, pepper and then fried to a crispy golden brown. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.

Angie Recipes: Zucchini Fritters

Next up is Stacia from The Domestic Engineer who made this Roasted Red Pepper and Mushroom Risotto. It was Stacia’s first time making risotto and she says “The recipe was a total success. My wrist was getting tired of the stirring by the end, but it was worth it. This recipe makes a great side dish, and makes a lot. The beauty of it is that I have leftovers!”

Domestic Engineer: Roasted Red Pepper and Mushroom Risotto

Dajana of Baker’s Corner… somewhere in my kitchen made Easy Cheese and Potato Balls. Dajana says “These little cheesey balls, instead were quite appreciated. They’re are just lovely and taste great. They are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Accompanied with some Greek yogurt they taste fresh , perfect as finger food, a warm appetizer or as a side dish. I prepared them at lunch time, but since I was alone, I baked only one part and put the rest in the fridge. I baked and served them in the evening, as a side with grilled pork chops.”

Dajana's Corner

Kathy from Are You Hungry? made a Cheesy Spinach Casserole. Kathy says “My family always detested cooked spinach. Cooked spinach always returned the common spinach objection, Eeeewwww it’s so slimy! I learned two things; never tell them in advance your serving cooked spinach, and two, ingredients that counter “slimy” are required.” Kathy also says this is a “Very nice side dish and another cooked spinach hit!”

Are You Hungry: Spinach Casserole

Tigerfish of Teczcape: An Escape To Food made two side dishes for this round. The first is a Bitter Melon Tomato Curry. Tigerfish says “Tomatoes give this dish tangy flavors: so if tangy is what you love, I don’t see why you don’t enjoy this…unless you seriously dislike bitter melon. It is an acquired taste. I enjoyed bitter melon even when I was a kid (I must be one of those few). And somehow because of the tomatoes, the bitterness is subtly masked. I made this bitter melon dish the same way I made this okra, using some of my favorite spices.”

Teczcape: Bitter Melon Tomato Curry

Tigerfish’s second dish is this Chayote (Chokos) Cabbage with Willow Mushrooms. Tigerfish says “This dish definitely has more bite due to the tender-yet-crunchy cabbage, chayote and willow mushrooms. The beef flavor has subtly been absorbed by the vegetables, so while you chew on the vegetables, you taste the natural sweetness and a tinge of savory beef. See what you can accomplish without oyster sauce? Wonders.”

Teczcape - An Escape To Food: Chayote Cabbage with  Willow Mushrooms

Christine of Fresh Local and Best made Sauteed Artichokes in Lemon Parsley Sauce. She was inspired after driving past “fields of bushy green artichoke plants. It was a breathtaking sight, miles and miles of maturing buds ready to be harvested. It was just the inspiration I needed to jumpstart my work on this thistle vegetable.”

Christine says “I think I’ve found a favorite: sauteed artichoke hearts in a lemon parsley sauce. Fresh tender artichoke hearts are sauteed in olive oil and minced garlic with a splash of bright lemony flavors.”

Fresh Local and Best" Sauteed Artichokes in Lemon Parsley Sauce

Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy & Low Calorie made Quinoa with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Corn. Debbi says “Got some quinoa? And some sun dried tomatoes? Make this side dish. It’s awesome. It’s a little spicy so tame the heat if you’d like but I liked it. And I’m typically not a super spicy person. Many different flavors and textures that went super together. I liked it more and more with every bite.”

Debbi Does Dinner: Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes and Corn

Carla and Michael from Recipe Addict cooked up a Risotto with Spring Greens. Carla says “Michael was making simple herb roasted chicken with the herbs we grow in our garden, so I wanted something to compliment it. I thought this risotto I had marked in the June 2009 issue of Oprah Magazine sounded perfect.”

Recipe Addict

Chaya of My Sweet and Savory made Herbed Cashew Rice with Dried Apricots. Chaya says “These days, my cooking world, is all about Mark Bittman.  Using any of his books or his online recipes is a delight.  So when, cashews came up, I went right to Mr. Bittman and found this delicious brown rice recipe. It was a hit.”

My Sweet and Savory: Herbed Cashew Rice with Dried Apricots

Chaya made two dishes for her Comfy Cook blog. Her first is this Spiced Red Lentil Stew. Of this dish Chaya says “Red lentils are more like a peach color or tangerine but for me, and they are pretty.  Everything in this recipe, except the onions is a shade of orange, carrots, butternut squash, turmeric and cumin.”

Comfy Cook: Spiced Red Lentil Stew

Chaya’s third side dish is Quinoa with Vegetables and Pecans

“This is a great recipe and I would guess, you can play around with it. I picked the vegetables, I wanted but I could see cut up zucchini or eggplant, giving it a whole different taste.tomatoes with the eggplant… It is all up to the imagination and creativity. What about dried fruit, raisins, apricots, dried pineapple or real fruit? I am having too much fun with this.”

Chaya's Comfy Cook: Quinoa with Vegetables and Pecans

Kim from Stirring the Pot made Chive Salad. Kim says “Chives are probably my favorite herb and they really shine in this simple salad. A super duper light dressing is made from equal parts soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, a touch of sesame oil and pinch of sugar. It is a light and flavorful salad that would be a great side dish to any Asian-inspired meal.”

Stirring the Pot: Chive Salad

Maggie the Country Cook from Maggie’s Country Kitchen made a Tomato Jam. Maggie says “Never have I thought to make jam out of tomatoes! I am a tomato lover and enjoy tomatoes in many ways. I saw this recipe and thought sweet,tangy and spicy all together with one of my most favorite foods. The recipe is very EASY! I literally threw everything into the pot and left it!”

Maggies Country Kitchen: Tomato Jam on toast

Allie from Eat at Allie’s made Green Chile Cheese Squares. This is a Paula Deen recipe made with eggs, green chiles, Monterey Jack, and Sharp Cheddar.

Eat at Allie's: Green Chile Cheese Squares

Kristin from Holy Cannoli Recipes made Stuffed Mushrooms.  Kristin says “I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try. It came out really good and considering that it wasn’t fried, it still had the taste of the stuffed mushrooms I remembered as a kid. I especially liked that it was fresh and not your typical stuffed mushroom you find in the freezer section of your grocery store. It was easy to make and you can triple the recipe with no problem.”

Holy Cannoli Recipes: Stuffed Mushroom

Lauren from Healthy.Delicious. made Creamy Potato Salad, Hold the Mayo. Lauren says “I took a small nibble. And it. was. awesome. I mean, we were lucky that there was any left by the time the burgers were done – I couldn’t keep out of it! For those of you who hate mayo, this is a great substitute. Those of you that do eat mayo will enjoy it too – Shawn said that it actually tastes very similar. It’s cool, creamy, slightly tangy. The hummus flavor isn’t nearly as pronounced as you might imagine it would be, And it has a whole lot less fat (about 5 grams of fat in mine, compared to over 20 grams in traditional versions!)

Healthy. Delicious. Creamy Potato Salad, Hold the Mayo

Ally from My Sweet and Savory made 4 Cheese Baked Macaroni. Allly says “As I’ve said before, I only have one friend (that I know of) that doesn’t like mac-n-cheese. The shame. There is something about the cheesy goodness that just makes your day that much better. Although, I would not recommend eating this everyday…”

Sweet & Savory: 4 Cheese Baked Macaroni

Yenta Mary A.K.A Food Floozie made Orange-Glazed Shredded Carrots. Yenta Mary says “It only took about 5 minutes to cook the shredded carrots in butter and orange juice, so this is a quick and easy — but delicious and festive — dish to accompany anything from beef to lamb to chicken to pork to even (gag! retch! gasp!) tofu. So, whether you need a nice salad to tote along in a pic-a-nic basket, or something fast to serve after a long day at work, or an easy side dish to make on a hot summer day, or just a soul brightener with beautiful color and festive flavor, this will solve all your problems.”

Food Floozie: Orange-Glazed Shredded Carrots

Daphne of Food Junkie From Texas made Broccoli with Balsamic Caramelized Onions. Daphne says “We eat a lot of broccoli in my house.  It is one of the only green foods that my husband and son will eat (and he won’t eat that much).  I know we all get tired of the boring steamed broccoli so I wanted to change things up a little. This is what I came up with.”

Food Junkie From Texas: Broccoli with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

Shirley from Enriching Your Kid made Black Trumpet Mushroom Sago Papadums.Shirley says “If you havent tasted the sago papads yet- they have a very ‘melt in the mouth’ texture, which means you better make plenty of it to go around. I make sago papads every summer, but this flavour was truly unique!”

Enriching Your Kid: Black Trumpet Mushroom Sago Papadums

Jaysus from Dinner and a Concert made a Springtime Vegetable Confetti Pasta Salad. Jaysus says “This salad is really tasty and has more veggies than pasta when you finish so maybe this is a veggie salad with some pasta. All of the veggies that I list are recommended but as always if you don’t like something or thin of something else that you want to add, you are the boss in your kitchen.”

Dinner and a Concert: Springtime Vegetable Confetti Pasta Salad

Deb of Kahakai Kitchen made Grilled Zucchini with Caprese Salad and Rocket Salsa. Deb says this “is a great side dish and a perfect way to ring in summer and liven up plain zucchini. The zucchini gets new life topped with the caprese-style salad and the peppery (from the arugula) and tangy (from the red wine vinegar and capers) salsa. (Although I do think it is actually more of a pesto than a salsa). It’s a fresh-tasting and easy side dish that pairs well with grilled meat, poultry or fish. I served it with some simple lamb patties and it made a great light dinner for a warm night. I will make this again.”

Kahakai Kitchen: Grilled Zucchini with Caprese Salad and Rocket Salsa

Joanne of Eats Well With Others made Lola Fries with Rosemary. Joanne served this with Grilled Hanger Steak and says it’s perfect third date food “it doesn’t hurt that he won’t be able to resist falling just a bit in love with you when he bites into this. It’s that good.”

“Yup. You’ve just guaranteed yourself a fourth, fifth, and sixth date sister. So rock on.”

Eats Well With Others: Lola Fries with Rosemary

Ana of Magic Flavors made Squash Gnocchi. Ana says “These gnocchi are made with butternut squash, rather than the more traditional potato. I finished my own with a simple butter and sage sauce. Gnocchi makes a lovely side dish, perfect with more robust meats ans seafood. If you want to serve the gnocchi up faster use more than one pot of boiling water. Of course if you have someone who can give you a hand things will go much faster.”

“These gnocchi are heaven in a bowl, velvet-like cushions to your bite and a revelation to your tongue.”

Magic Flavors: Squash Gnocchi

I made Garlic Bread Crusted Macaroni and Cheese with Brie. “This is a very non-traditional recipe for Macaroni and Cheese made with creamy Brie, fresh tomatoes, spinach, black olives and a crusty Garlic Bread topping. This is a bit fancier than the childhood classic. And definitely not your run-of-the-mill mac ‘n’ cheese!”

Macaroni and Cheese with Brie and a Garlic Bread Topping

I hope you enjoyed these dishes! Follow the links to get the complete recipes.

Add your June links to the bottom of this Guideline post.

Thanks to everyone for participating! See you next month! xo

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Side Dish Showdown #2: March

I have a dazzling array of side dishes to present to you for the March Side Dish Showdown. A total of 27 sides from many different cuisines to tease, tempt and tantalize your tastebuds!

Caveman from Caution: Caveman Cooking sent over his Sauteed Asian Veggies. A tasty, basic and easy recipe with yellow squash, zucchini and snow peas sauteed in garlic and soy sauce. The perfect compliment for his Korean Pork Chops (Daeji Galbi) or any dish that you want to add a little exotic Asian flair to.

Caveman Cooking: Sauteed Asian Veggies

Brad of Eatnlisten made his Smashed Garlic Potatoes. “Garlic cloves steeped in milk and butter lend a light garlicky flavor to this easy to prepare side dish. Leaving the thin potato skins on lends texture and earthiness when combined with a touch of nutmeg and fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.” Nutmeg in potatoes is a unique idea that I love! Can’t wait to try it.

Eatnlisten Smashed Garlic Taters

Kathy of Are You Hungry? made Elegant Scalloped Corn and Broccoli. “While I could taste the sweetness of creamed corn, the overall flavor was a bit different. The broccoli gave it some flavor, texture, and color while the hot peppers in the cheese added a bit of zing.” This is just the type of casserole I love! Zesty, cheesy and comforting.

Are You Hungry BroccoliCornScallop

The very charming Chaya of the Comfy Cook and Sweet & Savory went all out with five dishes for the Showdown this month. A carb-fest. Her first dish Carrot Pasta was inspired by the three bags of carrots she had and a need to clean out her pantry for Passover. We all now how much I love carrots…and pasta!

Chaya's Comfy Cook Carrot Pasta

 Her second is a unique pan-fried Pasta Pancake flavored with egg, peppers and onions. I would love this for breakfast!

Sweet and Savory Pasta pancake

Next up are Chaya’s savory gluten-free Cabbage, Carrot & Potato Muffins. Hearty and satisfying!

Chaya's Comfy Cook Muffins

And here we have Double Cooked Potatoes that Chaya describes as “little round globes of soft mashed potatoes filled with goodies…browned both in the frying pan and then, in the oven… they disappear quickly.”
Mouth-watering…I hope Chaya saved hid these for me!

Chaya's potato balls in a cup

Last up we have Chaya’s Apple-Sweet Potato Kugel that caused her to come to this decision “I am throwing out my other kugel recipes for sweet potatoes and using this one, as often as possible. I think the apples moderated the taste of the sweet potato to make a winning combination.” A flavor match made in heaven!

Chaya's Sweet Potato Kugel

Lori of Fake Food Free made a Nutty Cauliflower Quinoa with cauliflower and walnuts that can serve as a side dish or a meal in itself. “The nutty flavor of the walnuts and cauliflower and the seed-like crunch of quinoa paired well with the bold spices of the poultry seasoning I tossed in.” I love cauliflower and walnuts! This is fast and convenient, a lovely and versatile side dish for any main.

Fake Food Free Cauliflower Quinoa

 Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy & Low Calorie made a Quinoa & Black Bean Cold Salad. “I love the flavors of this salad. It definitely has that south of the border appeal and would be great for a fiesta or any Mexican themed meal.” This would fast become a favorite of mine too with these Tex-Mex flavors. 

Debbi Does Dinner Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Mrs. Jen B of  The Misadventures of Mrs. B’s made two side dishes. The first is Super Easy, Super Cheesy StovetopI’ll let her tell you. “Macaroni and cheese. Have three words ever gone together so well?” So creamy and comforting!

Mrs. Jen B's Mac n Cheese

Mrs. Jen B’s second side dish is this light and Refreshing Cucumber Salad dressed with dill and a sweet, cooked vinegar sauce. This is an excellent summer side for a hot day and a barbecue!

Mrs. Jen B's  Cucumber Salad

Kim of Stirring the Pot made this “mind blowing delicious” Artichoke Gratinata. “A side dish that will steal the show…I ate the whole batch. Yes, the entire recipe. It was so good that it caused me to lose both my manners and self-control. It is bright, fragrant, crunchy, buttery goodness!” I don’t know about you but I’m totally convinced and have artichokes just begging to be made into this!

Stirring the Pot Artichoke Gratinata

Kerstin of Cake, Batter and Bowl made Curried Chickpea Sweet Potato Squares to satisfy her craving for “a rich potato gratin.” Kerstin layered organic sweet potatoes with Indian-spiced chickpea mash for this healthier, but every bit as tasty version. This is a wonderful combination of flavors that sounds even better than the classic potato gratin!

Cake, Batter and Bowl: Curried Chickpea Sweet Potato Squares

Faith of An Edible Mosaic made Garlic Cauliflower Mash with turnips and cream cheese. “The mashed cauliflower ended up being the best mashed cauliflower I had ever made.  It was incredibly silky smooth and creamy, and the roasted garlic gave it such a rich, deep flavor.” The roasted garlic sounds totally delicious!

An Edible Mosaic: Garlic Cauliflower Mash

 Dajana from Baker’s Corner…somewhere in my kitchen sent this Fava Beans Salad with Walnut Pesto. “I like to prepare this kind of salads for lunch. They’re flavourful, rich and go perfectly with a sandwich, or just some cheese and bread. But nothing prevents you from serving it with meat, lamb for example, or whatever you like.” Fresh and light, I would love this on a hot summer night.

Baker's Corner: Fava Bean with Walnut Pesto

Shirley from Enriching Your Kid sent Paneer Burji/Scrambled Cottage Cheese spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder and garam masala. ” An Indian favorite with rotis and very easy to prepare.” I would love to try this – it looks just like scrambled eggs!

Enriching Your Kid Scrambled Cottage Cheese

Natasha of Five Star Foodie Culinary Adventures made Whipped Goat Cheese Boniatos using white sweet potatoes. She served these with a rack of lamb “but whipped boniatos with goat cheese were a true star of the meal. Silky, light, and smooth, it’s a perfect side dish.” I’m enamored with these white sweet potatoes! They must be rare because I’ve never seen them in the market. I would love to get my hands on some.

Five Star Foodie: Whipped Goat Cheese Boniato

Daphne of Food Junkie From Texas sent over two side dishes. Her first is a Smoky Kale with Onions. She met my challenge of trying a new ingredient “I have been browsing the produce section a little more intently lately because we need to find some vegetables other than potatoes and green beans that my family will eat.” It must of been a success! “My ten year old and husband ate it all…

Food Junkie From Texas Smoky Kale

Daphne also made her Great-Grandma’s Rich & Cheesy Macaroni, unique because it has 1 cup of sugar in it. It is the secret ingredient to making this “rich, buttery, cheesy, happiness in a dish. My favorite comfort food of all time. It just makes me feel happy and all warm inside. The recipe comes from my great-grandmother. Lots of lovely memories come from this dish.” Another intriquing side! I never saw a recipe like this that called for sugar. I could dive right into that bowl!

Food Junkie From Texas Mac n Cheese

SE of Denufood – Delicious & Nutritious Food sent over her Gavar chi Bhaji or Sautéed Cluster Beans. “Green beans native to India, very famous in the regional cooking of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra and maybe other parts of the country too!” They are flavored with green chiles, coconut and mustard seeds. Some of my most beloved ingredients!

Denufood: Gawaar Bhaji

Sasha from A Kitchen In Brooklyn made Apricot Almond Couscous to pair with a semi dry Riesling. “I decided to prepare the couscous with apricot and almond to complement the fragrant apricot and white peach aromas in the wine, and its smooth, lovely honey finish, as well as cinnamon, almond and a bit of lemon.” I really love the romantic feel of this dish. It sounds heavenly for a special night.

A Kitchen In Brooklyn: Apricot Couscous

Laurie of That’s Not What The Recipe Says sent over Baked Stuffed Winter Acorn Squash. She also tried a new ingredient: wheat berries. Laurie served her squash alongside an herb roasted chicken. “The crunchiness of the wheat berries and wild rice was delightful and a nice counterpoint to the soft squash. The sweet/tart flavor combination of the pears, apple cider and dried cranberries was smashing.” I am overly fond of stuffed squash and especially this one with it’s sweet, tart and savory filling. A feast for the senses.

That's Not What the Recipe Says Stuffed Winter Squash

Meghan of You’re Gonna Bake It After All made Garlic Parmesan Oven Fries. “They’re crispy, flavorful, and the perfect accompaniment to any main dish. With so few ingredients, they are so easy to whip up on a weeknight. You don’t even have to peel the potatoes!” These are some of the best looking oven fries I’ve laid eyes on!

You're Gonna Bake It After All Garlic Parmesan Fries

Joanne of Eats Well With Others sent over two side dishes from Michael Symon’s new cookbook. First up is this Spicy Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup. You should know she is not a soup lover…”But this wasn’t soup. This was heaven. In a bowl. I ate it hot. And I ate it cold. Sometimes both. In one day. Yeah it was that good. It tasted almost like a pink pasta sauce with a blue cheese/sriracha twang to it. And with that being said. I would consider pouring it over pasta. If I weren’t pretty sure that I would just end up sipping it from the pot with a straw.” There’s not much left for me to add – where’s my straw?

Eats Well With Others: Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup

Second up are Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Capers served alongside the LOLA burger; a bacon cheeseburger topped with a fried egg and pickled onions. Yes, another one of Symon’s creations. “After eating these. I’m pretty sure that Michael Symon is my soul mate. So Michael. If you’re reading this. Will you marry me?” I wonder what he would do with two proposals? I’m quite sure I would like to marry him too!

Eats Well With Others: Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Capers

My side dish this month is Fried Chile Pepper Pasta with Bread Crumbs, a traditional recipe from the region in Southern Italy known as Basilicata. Dried red chile peppers are fried until crunchy and added to pasta with tomatoes and pan-fried bread crumbs. Sassy and rustic. 

Pasta w/ Fried Chile Peppers & Bread Crumbs

Would you like to join us for April’s Showdown?

1. The side dish must be a blogged recipe dated during April.  No old posts.

2. You must mention that it is for Side Dish Showdown with a link back to here.

3. The dish must be a side dish: sometimes referred to as a side order or simply a side; it accompanies the entrée or main course at a meal and usually does not contain meat. If you send me a main dish it will not be included in the round-up.

4. You must add your link(s) to the McKLINKY below or e-mail me by April 30th at midnight for it to be included in the round-up. By doing this you give me permission to use a picture of the dish off your post in the round-up. After you add your link please check back and make sure it was added correctly.

*This month’s theme is Anything Goes with a secondary theme of Spring. I imagine that most of us are cooking a little lighter and a lot fresher since the onset of warmer weather. Send me side dishes with your favorite Spring vegetables, the ones you look forward to and can’t wait to make…and eat…and share.

And as always I appreciate your help by adding the badge to your side-bar and/or your Showdown posts.

Side Dish Showdown Blogger Event

Copy and paste the code below into the html gadget on your layout page or right into your post.

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Thank-you all for your participating!  Hope to see you next month. xoxo

Side Dish Showdown #1: February

I’m thrilled at the response to the Showdown! I wasn’t sure at first if there would be a second month or not. It all depended on you. And you came through. I have a lovely set of side dishes to wow you with.

Lori of Fake Food Free made her healthy and delicious Smoky Sautéed Kale & Mushrooms. It was her first time eating/cooking Kale and was inspired by a challenge to try a new green. Lori says “You’ll be hard pressed to find something easier to cook as well. I got a batch of great tasting kale finished in the amount of time it would take to go through a drive through.” She served her Smoky Kale alongside Salmon and quinoa.  Kale is one of my favorite greens, being less bitter than others. Lori’s dish was a delicious success!

Smoky Sauteed Kale & Mushrooms @ Fake Food Free

Meghan of You’re Gonna Bake It After All made her Haricots Verts with Shallots, and like Lori she says “These are the perfect side dish – quick, healthy and delicious.” Meghan loved the shallots cooked in butter and the slight crunch of the beans. I love the vibrant colors and flavors; like summer on a plate.

You're Gonna Bake it After All

Natasha of 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures made her Sweet Grapes; a side dish her family says tastes like cherries. She served the Sweet Grapes with a Lemon Zest Crusted Cod with Horseradish Emulsion. A   flavor combination her family loved. But she also says “I first made with flounder, and it is also great with poultry, veal or pork.” I can’t wait to try these truly unique grapes.

5 Star Foodie

Caveman of Caveman Cooking sent these 2x Baked Potatoes that he also refers to as his “Angioplasty Special” but says “they are so amazingly good you won’t even care!” He served these with his Juicy Beer Can Chicken and has a recipe for the leftovers too. He’s right! I don’t care! Everything in moderation, right? I hope you saved me one Caveman.

2x Baked Potatoes @ Caveman Cooking

Chaya from the gluten-free Comfy Cook Blog made this sweet and spicy African Sweet Potato Stew with peanut butter in it. Chaya “liked the green beans and sweet potatoes” and says “the sauce is delicious.” She discovered her husband doesn’t like Garbanzo beans – if you’re like him you could substitute a bean you like. This has everything I love in it and the peanut butter seals the deal for me.

African Sweet Potato Stew Chaya Comfy Cook Blog

Chaya is a busy lady cooking up a storm for two blogs. She also authors Sweet and Savory where she posted this Corn Maque Choux made with  Emeril’s Creole Seasoning. Chaya says “This is a delicious dish. Everyone liked it and I would make it again.” Chaya thought the seasoning gave it an extra boost that brought it to higher level of greatness. Spicy greatness, indeed.

Corn Maque Choux @ Sweet and Savory

Swapna of Crafts and Cooking sent her Chicken Stew all the way from India. She followed my suggestion to ‘think outside the box’ and says of her stew “I think that this one really fits that bill… maybe it is not very new in some parts of the world, but to me, the flavours were really new and I am absolutely sure that I will make this a lot more times.” I’m so happy to be a part of her delicious new discovery.

Chicken Stew @ Crafts and Cooking

Kim of Stirring the Pot sent me her Mom’s recipe for using leftover mashed potatoes: Potato Cakes. Kim says “If you are lucky enough to have leftover mashed potatoes, you should consider making these Potato Cakes. I think that these are one side dish that everyone, including kids, would love to eat!” I agree! And love her Mom’s way of serving them for breakfast alongside eggs and bacon. Hearty and comforting.

Potato Cakes @ Stirring The Pot

Kathy of Are You Hungry? sent me her Szechuan Broccoli, Asparagus and Mushrooms, a recipe she found in one her mother-in-law’s (now hers) cookbooks. Kathy says “This vegetable stir fry has a great flavor and just the right zing. The guys were impressed with it. In fact, we liked it so much there were no leftovers!” She served it along side her Teriyaki Pork Chops. What a perfect combo!

Are You Hungry SchezuanVegetables

Dajana of Baker’s corner…Somewhere in my Kitchen sent her Glazed Vegetables with Thyme. Dajana says of the dish “Absolutely delicious. Slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly. You’re not Brussels sprouts lover, because they’re bitter and bla, bla? Well, I think you’ll love them prepared this way.She also says that ideally you should serve them with white meat roasts, grilled fish or sharp cheese. Sounds good to me! I’ve been using thyme all the time now in my soups and vegetable dishes. I love it. And I bet the sweetness in the dish offsets any bitterness that might be there.

 Bakers Corner

Shirley of Enriching Your Kid sent me her Purple Amaranth Cutlets. Amaranthus is a herb whose seeds are eaten as a cereal grain, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, and made into porridge. Shirley’s cutlets have potatoes in them and are flavored with ginger, mint, chile powder, and garam masala. I’d love to try them with this healthy and pretty purple Amaranth herb.

Amaranth Cutlets @ Enriching Your Kids

Brad of Eatnlisten made his classic Creamy Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes. “Potatoes and onions roasted in a butter cream sauce, finished with tangy extra sharp cheddar cheese and baked to creamy cheesy perfection…” Brad has been ‘fiddling’ with this recipe, his Mom’s, for 20 years, never straying far from the original. He says it’s perfect alongside crispy fried fish and slow roasted, grilled, and smoked meats. I say pass me a big plate full please and then don’t mind me as I eat my way to bliss!

Eat n Listen's Creamy-Dreamy-Scalloped-Potatoes

Megan of Megan’s Cooking made a Orange & Mozzarella Salad w/ Basil. Megan says “This is just like a Caprese Salad except it uses orange slices instead of tomatoes in the salad, and orange juice in the vinaigrette. It’s quick and simple to put together, and delicious with it’s fresh and bold flavors.” This is a surprising twist on the classic that my mouth waters for with it’s vibrant and fresh flavors. Gorgeous!

Orange & Mozzarella Salad w/ Basil @ Megan's Cookin

Deb of Kahakai Kitchen “brings a little bit of sunshine to my gloomy winter days” with her Orzo w/ Fennel, Edamame and Pineapple; “a nutritionally packed dish and keeper recipe for sure.” Deb says ” The combination may sound a bit strange but trust me it works.” She found inspiration from two sources: a deli salad and the latest issue of Clean Eating Magazine. It’s the best of both. Just talking about it makes my day feel brighter…and my step lighter after all that snow! Sunshine in a bowl.

Kahakai Kitchen's Orzo with Fennel, Edamame, and Pineapple

Joanne of Eats Well With Others made Soft Polenta w/ Mascarpone, a recipe from Michael Symon’s new cookbook.  Joanne says it’s “An absolute dream. It is smooth and creamy and definitely one of the best tasting things on this earth.” She served it with oven-roasted asparagus and a fried egg over top but says you “could top it with anything and it will taste delicious.” I don’t need convincing! I haven’t stopped dreaming of it since I first laid eyes on it.

Soft Polenta w/ Mascarpone @ Eats Well With Others

Last but not least are my side dishes. I broke my own rule of two entries per person and made three. Oops.

First up are my Roasted Lemon Potatoes:

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

Sour Cream Poppy Seed Noodles:

Moon's Macaroni & Cheese
Classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Thank you all for making the first Showdown a success! This month ‘Anything Goes’ again because I don’t want to discourage or rule out any entries. I’m also putting out an optional secondary challenge to try a new ingredient, whether it be a vegetable, a type of grain/pasta or a spice/herb. Add your link here to the MckLinky or e-mail it right to me:

Side Dish Showdown rules can be found here.

What sides are looking good to you?

More Macaroni and Cheese, Please

Macaroni & Cheese

This is an easy, straight-forward, classic Macaroni and Cheese recipe. There’s nothing fancy about it, even though for a quick moment I considered using an ‘upscale’ cheese. The thought was quickly dismissed. Don’t get me wrong I love a fancy mac ‘n’ cheese. But sometimes I crave simple satisfaction. This is a mac ‘n’ cheese my mother would make; homey, comforting and totally unpretentious. The kind your kids will love and ask for seconds. And then beg you to make again.

Macaroni & Cheese

I want to pass on a secret for making the best mac and cheese that I learned from my Mom. Instead of mixing the pasta into the cheese sauce she pours it over top of the pasta right in the pan. I don’t know the science behind it but I can say firsthand that it works for producing an extra creamy pasta sauce. I really love a good, extra sharp cheddar for this. Freshly shredded please, not bagged, because it doesn’t melt as smooth or as creamy.

Macaroni & Cheese
(adapted from Betty Crocker)
8 ounces uncooked Elbow Pasta
1/4 cup Butter + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Sea or Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestshire Sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 + 1/2 cup Milk
3 cups Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 1/2 cup set aside for topping (12 ounces)
1/3 cup Cornflake crumbs
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart or 8×8-inch casserole pan.
2. Cook and drain elbows to al dente according to package directions. Pour into casserole pan and toss with a tablespoon of butter.
3. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat; whisk in flour, salt, pepper, both mustards, and Worcestershire. Cook over low heat, whisking
constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk and heat to boiling whisking continuously. Boil for one minute and stir in cheese. Stir
until all the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Pour evenly over the top of the elbows. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese set aside, and then with the crumbs.
5. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Moon's Macaroni & Cheese

I’m sending this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Italian Mama Chef this week.

 Don’t forget to enter my Side Dish Showdown!

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese on FoodistaBaked Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Lemon Potatoes: Side Dish Showdown

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

Just a simple side dish today to kick off my Side Dish Showdown monthly blogger event. This pairs potatoes with lemons. A rarity. When I think of potatoes I don’t often never think of lemons. So when I saw just this very thing in my new issue of Food Network magazine it immediately sparked my interest. Speaking of. If you’ve never picked a copy of this magazine you should. It’s full of recipes from start to finish. Recipes you will really want to make and eat. Some are very basic that you can build your own ideas on and others that are more intense. And the best part for me is the lady who shall remain nameless here – you know her for 30 minute meals – is nowhere to be found.

The potatoes are started on top of the stove in an iron-proof skillet by boiling them with lemon, olive oil, garlic and in this case Rosemary (the original used oregano). Then they get roasted in the oven, and Parmesan, my contribution, gets sprinkled over top.

I really loved these – the lemon was prominent but not tart, and they went perfectly alongside a whole roasted chicken. And this brings me to one of the reasons why I am starting this side dish event. The potatoes added something special to the meal; the lemon and rosemary are classic flavors for chicken; they were a nice compliment and really rounded out the meal to make it memorable. More so than if I had just eaten a baked potato with it, or even mashed potatoes or steamed up some rice. Not that any of those are bad; just boring; and they don’t add much to the meal; just fulfill a purpose.

I want to give more attention to sides; the underdog of the meal; the afterthought. My goal is to be a resource for finding fabulous side dishes quickly, whether it be on the spur of the moment while that chicken is roasting, to use up a certain ingredient before it goes bad, to get you out of a rut and find something new and interesting to serve. But most of all I want to put more thought into picking just the right side that is going to work with the flavors of the entire meal. When you think of that delicious chicken dish you made last week I want you to automatically think of the side too, and how much it brought to the meal, because the flavors go hand in hand. I know I’ll be doing that with my chicken and lemon potatoes. Remembering them. I ate it on Sunday and I’m still thinking about it. Both of them. Not just the succulent roasted chicken. But those potatoes too, so delicious together.

Side Dish Showdown will be a monthly blogger event that will start on the first or second of each month and run through to the last day of the month. On the 1st or 2nd I will post a round-up and announce that month’s theme. Did I mention that? We’ll have different themes every month. To kick things off this month we’ll have an Anything Goes theme.

Guidelines For Joining:
1. The side dish(es) must be a blogged recipe dated during the month of entry. No oldies. Just for this month it will be from today Feb.10 to the end of the month.
2. You must mention that it is for Side Dish Showdown with a link back to this post or to the side dish showdown page located on my toolbar.
3. The dish has to be a side dish. No mains, soups, etc…
4. Up to two entries per blog per month. Please no more than two.
5. You must add your link(s) to the McKLINKY (link will be below) for it to be included in the round-up. By doing this you give me permission to use a picture of the dish off your post in the round-up. After you add your link please check back and make sure it was added correctly.
6. Any questions e-mail me at
7. Have fun, think outside the box, try new flavors, new techniques, and mention in your blog what flavors and main dishes you think would go well with it.

Please Add The Side Dish Showdown Badge to Your Blog Sidebar and to your side dish posts to help spread the word about it – I would greatly appreciate it!

Side Dish Showdown Blogger Event

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Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes
(adapted from Food Network Magazine)
4 Potatoes, cut in 1 and 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
Sea or Kosher salt and fresh Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Parmesan, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the potatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and rosemary together in an oven-proof skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill with water halfway up the sides of the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Roast for 30-35 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle Parmesan over top.